The Vertical Axis of Life

written by Jasmin Krpan


The vertical axis of life of the Egyptian megalopolis Cairo is very surprising. In the middle of the vertical axis, coated in the dense layer of fog which is permeated by minarets, the tower of the Egyptian television and western hotels – there is an endless sea of flat roofs of the thousands of buildings which make the tissue of the city.


Many of them have become the only fertile ground for improvised hovels, home of illegal tenants, squeezed among the satellite antennas. If you look down to the street, you can see that each centimetre of the streets of Cairo is fought for by old Peugeots which used to be taxis in Athens twenty years ago, and so still have taximeters in Greek, Zastava Skala cars (called stojadin) and decaying Russian Lada cars. Cars which were long time ago discarded by Europe, even Eastern Europe. Two million cars, most of which should have been destroyed, are getting through the complex mess of asphalt, sand and human steps, compared to which the crowd of the New York Times Square or the London Piccadilly is just a picnic.